Sadly, my time at the Inerrancy Summit has drawn to a close. Because of other commitments, I was only able to give it two days, but I am very grateful for the time I was able to spend there, and was delighted to meet so many of those who attended. As I wait for my flight home, I wanted to close out my time with a few reflections.
First, I think this summit came at the right time. The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy took place almost 40 years ago. The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy was the most enduring legacy of that council and it remains today as a thorough description of inerrancy as well as a compelling call to it. Here, four decades on, I don’t think we are at a point of true crisis—I do not see a lot of conservative evangelicals wholesale rejecting inerrancy. However, why I think this summit came at the right time is that we may be at the point of assuming inerrancy. The current generation of pastors have been able to take ahold of the legacy that was given them and have not had to do the same kind of work in establishing what they believe and why they believe it. I trust that by the end of this conference their understanding and confidence will be that much deeper and that it will work itself out in their minds, in their preaching, and in their churches for many years to come.
Second, I think this summit drew the right people. It was fascinating to stand outside yesterday and to speak to a pastor from India, followed by a pastor from Poland, followed by a pastor from Germany, followed by a pastor from Russia—and all these talking to a pastor from Canada. In every case I was able to ask about the state of the church in their countries and to hear that there, too, they need to reaffirm the absolute supremacy and authority of the Word of God. This event drew men from 70 countries, and I trust that they will return to their countries with a much better and deeper appreciation of God’s Word and why it matters so, so much.
Which leads me to my third reflection: John MacArthur is an exceptional individual. I don’t say this (I hope) as a breathless fan, but as an observer. I have met him on only a couple of brief occasions, but here is what I have observed: He always owns the room. In a room full of people, everyone will look at him and gravitate to him. Is he just a particularly gregarious individual? Sure, he is. But it’s more than that. I think it must be a kind of spiritual gifting—God has gifted him to be a leader, and he has taken hold of that gift. The sheer quantity of people he has influenced through the sheer quantity of things he is involved in is simply incredible. He is a once-in-a-generation kind of leader. Yesterday in my hotel lobby I ran into a well-known Christian leader (whom I will not identify since I did not think to ask if I could quote him)—one who was not a keynote speaker at the conference but who was there anyway—and he said, “John MacArthur is the godliest man I have ever met.” I can’t disagree with him.
The Summit continues today. Here is what you can see on the livestream:
- 1:00 PM EST – Steve Lawson
- 2:45 PM EST – Gregory Beale
- 7:30 PM EST – Derek Thomas
- 10:30 PM EST – Albert Mohler